The Cost of the “Experience the Uncommon” Marketing Campaign

By Haley Burnside & August Kissel, Staff Writers

All the prospective students visiting campus this fall have heard the latest tagline of Manhattan College: Experience the Uncommon. The Uncommon campaign, launched just over a year ago, is the foundational message behind a new wave of advertisements that will soon grace the Manhattan College website.

Lydia Gray, the executive director of the marketing and communication department, the success of the Uncommon campaign.

“On all executions, the Uncommon campaign is one of the strongest and most well received” Gray said. Gray attributed the success to the work done with a focus group.

“The basic cycle for an admissions marketing campaign at the College is every three years. At that time a series of focus groups are scheduled with all of our internal and external constituencies to evaluate our core pillars.” She went on outlining the process. “Once these pillars are confirmed, the task is to develop a compelling campaign.”

The result of the focus groups is the tagline included on all the recruitment pamphlets and advertisements, as well as on the fence along Manhattan College Parkway. The slogan will be used for the next few years to sell the “Manhattan College Experience” to high school juniors and seniors, their families and their guidance counselors.

Dr. Carolyn Predmore, a marketing professor at the college, praises the strategic reasoning behind the tagline.

“What we’re trying to do is make Manhattan College stand out. Let’s face it, as a high school junior and senior you’re inundated with information and there’s hundreds of schools you could attend. How do you stand out among the crowd? So we’re working at trying to find a niche that will make the world look at us.”

Predmore says that the buzzword “Uncommon” is useful in depicting the value of Manhattan College.

“Look around, this is a college in New York City that has a quad with grass on its campus. That is uncommon. We have small class sizes so students can create connections with their professors. That is uncommon.”

Aside from just being used in print, this tagline has appeared in radio and online ads, including the recruitment videos that were filmed on campus in September. These videos featured a mix of student volunteers and paid actors.

The funding for these videos and for marketing in general comes from “one unified advertising/marketing budget that is funded through the College’s operating budget,” according to Gray.

“There is a wide range of spending for marketing in higher education and I would say we are on the more conservative end,” she said. The exact amount of money being spent on the marketing of the college is not made public by the department.

The current freshman class was the first to be presented with the Uncommon campaign during their college selection process.

Many freshmen do not even know the tagline, and those who have heard of it claim that it was not influential in their college selection.

“I’ve heard the ads on Spotify, but I could not tell you what they said” Katharine Scheid said. “I never heard any ads until I was already here. I don’t need them to advertise to me, I already go here.”

Others did hear the slogan during their college search, but only in person.

“I heard the ‘Experience the Uncommon’ thing, it’s all they talked about at accepted students day and orientation. I don’t think it influenced my choice to come here, but I’m here so maybe it did,” Andrew Gauzza said.